Eridge Park in Kent, England, is going to host a new Americana and country music festival called Black Deer. The first edition is going to take place June 22-24.

Iron & Wine and Passenger have been announced as headliners for the premiere. Other confirmed acts include Jason Isbell and his band The 400, Ward Thomas, Eric Bibb, John Moreland, CC Smugglers, The Americans and Juanita Stein.


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Black Deer Festival

Besides the music, food and drinks will play a central role at Black Deer. Promoters Gill Tee and Deborah Shilling, the founders of Entertee Events, hired BBQ legends Jon Finch and Ben Merrington for the job.

Another festival area is going to be dedicated to motorcycle subculture. Artisan craft, whiskey tasking, wood-chopping, denim-customizing and activities dedicated to kids are part of the program as well.

The festival organizers have teamed up with Supajam Education in Music and Media, an educational provider for the young with special needs. SEMM was given its own stage at the festival to manage, book and curate, and the festival team will be working closely with the students all year.

Tee and Shilling have been the event consultants for Eridge Park for four years, overseeing a number of events including Forgotten Fields (5000 capacity), Playgroup (2000) and Hi Definition Dance festival (15,000). What makes the place special in the eyes of the promoters is its secluded feel a 50-minute train ride outside London.

Thousands of deer still roam the site, over 3,000 acres of parkland, much of it ancient woods. The natural hills and valleys create an amphitheater feel. “Eridge seems almost to have anticipated its future and carved itself up into these naturally occurring areas that work so well for events and performances,” Shilling wrote in a blog post.

Americana is experiencing somewhat of a heyday in the UK at the moment. There’s the upcoming UK Americana Awards, Feb. 1, which are going to honor Robert Plant for his Lifetime Achievement and see Mumford Sons win the Trailblazer Award.


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Photo: Entertee

Black Deer Festival Promoters - Deborah Shilling and Gill Tee

In September last year, Britain sent three of its most promising Americana acts to the Americana Festival & Music Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Pollstar spoke to the people involved, including DHP Family, British Underground and Andy Shearer, the booking agent for Yola Carter, who’s nominated at this year’s award show in the category UK Song of the Year for “Home.”